The European perspective – opinions of the UK General election

The final piece on our coverage of the UK General Election

, by Chris Powers , Franziska Pudelko, Hervé Moritz, Marcel Wollscheid, Susi Navara

All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English] [français]

The European perspective – opinions of the UK General election

The UK election has yielded a surprisingly clear result: the Conservatives have won with a comfortable margin. David Cameron will thus remain in Downing Street’s no. 10 for another 5 years. What are the implications of this result for Europe? Opinions from our editors from Germany, France and the UK.

Cameron and the Tories celebrate another 5 years in government
Photo: © Number 10 / Flickr (Link) / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0-Lizenz (

Brexit might be an option

Franziska Pudelko – chief editor of

"Considering the clear result in favour of the Conservatives, Brussels is growing increasingly nervous. Cameron’s election promise of an EU referendum is now very likely to become a reality. The election result itself, however, has definitely not decided a Brexit. High unemployment, low salaries and cuts in social security were the main issues of this election campaign, the referendum was not among the most discussed topics. The implication of a Brexit would not only mean a loss of influence and power in Europe for the UK, but could also have serious financial consequences. To avoid two years of limbo and uncertainty, especially for British businesses, Cameron might even consider moving the referendum forward. Although a Brexit seems unlikely, the Europe debate will certainly become more intense, which is why it should actively be in the interest of the EU to act, the sooner the better, to keep Britain in. "

Cameron’s dangerous game paid off – so far

Marcel Wollscheid – deputy chief editor of

"To some extent the election was a referendum on the EU referendum. David Cameron – pressured on the one hand by the Eurosceptics in his party, on the other hand by UKIP – promised the population a referendum on EU membership in 2017 should he be re-elected. Cameron’s dangerous strategic move has obviously paid off. Not only did he win over the British voters, he has also strengthened the UK’s position in negotiations with the EU. The next couple of months will show how Cameron will use his mandate. He could be remembered in history for either initiating a Brexit or for further integrating the UK in a European future. Certainly the question will continue to hang over the continent like the sword of Damocles. It has to be hoped that the UK won’t tear the Union apart. "

Beginning of an arm wrestling

Hervé Moritz – Editor-in-Chief of Le Taurillon

"The Tories have won 331 seats in the House of Commons, a clear victory for David Cameron. This result does make clear that there will be referendum and last night was the first step towards it. Labour did not succeed in taking a clear position on the UK’s membership and only achieved a result of 232 seats. The second big winner in the general election was the SNP who won 56 of the 58 seats in Scotland. Sweet revenge.

What does the future hold for the UK within the EU? David Cameron does have more leverage in his promised re-negations with Brussels with the referendum up his sleeve. However, the rest of Europe views Britain potentially getting a special deal, or better said an even more special deal, very critically. Should Britain actually end up leaving the EU, the cries for independence in Scotland could grow even louder – one reason being to remain in the European Union. Today, the day after the election, marks the beginning of an arm wrestling contest."


Christopher Powers - Managing Editor of The New Federalist

"With a Conservative majority government in the UK, all that is certain is that the internal struggles within British politics are set to continue playing out. With changes to the leadership of the Liberal Democrats, the Labour Party and UKIP it is completely unclear for now what shape future debates over Europe may take.

The United Kingdom has emerged more divided than ever before, with a situation in Scotland now such that it is essentially a single-party state being dictated to by an ideological opponent. The ’Scottish’ question and the ’Europe’ question for British people are linked and that’s sure to become more apparent in the coming years.

Finally, the UK’s own constitutional arrangement is surely set to change. Every party but the Conservatives and SNP has been hurt by the First Past the Post system of voting for General Elections, including Labour. It’s high time that the UK begins to embrace the idea of equal votes for everyone and it looks to be the only silver-lining to draw from this election result."

You can find a brief statement on the elections from our JEFers in the United Kingdom (YEM UK) here:

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